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Australian Open Day 6 Men’s Recap – Nadal Improves, Medvedev Still Untested

Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open

Day six at the Australian Open saw the conclusion of the third round, with the eight matches in the last 16 now set. There were some truly thrilling clashes, but if you missed any of the action, here is our round-up of the day’s play:

Australian Open Day 6 Men’s Recap

Keeping up good form

Andrey Rublev’s long winning streak looked to be in danger when he trailed 2-6 3-5 to Belgium’s David Goffin, who had been in dominant form. But Goffin’s nerve failed him at the vital moment, gifting Rublev a path back into the match and he did not spurn that opportunity. The Russian rallied to claim a 2-6 7-6 6-4 7-6 victory to reach the second week at the Australian Open for the first-time in his career, where he will face Alexander Zverev.

The German has affected a dramatic turnaround. After a miserable showing at the ATP Cup, where he failed to win a single match as Germany crashed out in the groups stages, he has rediscovered some form at the Australian Open. He was solid rather than spectacular in his opening wins over Marco Cecchinato and Egor Gerasimov, but he was superb in demolishing Fernando Verdasco, claiming a 6-2 6-2 6-4 win courtesy of six breaks of serve and 15 aces.

The Russian Daniil Medvedev, meanwhile, delivered another fine display to book his place in the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the second consecutive year. The fourth seed looks to be in great shape coming into the second week, having dropped just one set so far. In the last match of the day on Rod Laver Arena, Medvedev was solid as a rock against home hope Alexei Popyrin, saving every break point he faced in a comprehensive win over the Australian young gun.

Rafael Nadal also impressed in his third-round win over his compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta. The world #1, who won the title in Melbourne in 2009, was particularly impressive from the line. Nadal lost just ten points on serve throughout the match, with Carreno Busta failing to force a single break point as he slumped to a one-sided 1-6 2-6 4-6 loss in just 101 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena. Nadal will next face Nick Kyrgios in a mouth-watering clash.

Let downs

There were high hopes for the big-serving John Isner’s match with 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka. Isner had been particularly impressive in his second-round win over Alejandro Tabilo, but unfortunately the match was cut short after Isner’s suffered a foot injury which forced his retirement with Wawrinka 6-4 4-1 to the good. The American was doubtless particularly frustrated having made a good start to the match, getting deep in some of Wawrinka’s service game, before his body broke down.

Many had expected former-world #10 Ernests Gulbis to cause the enigmatic Gael Monfils some real problems in the third round. After all, the Latvian was in fine form, having already picked up five victories in Melbourne after coming through the qualifying. But he was ultimately just too inconsistent to really trouble the Frenchman. Not for the first time, Gulbis’ forehand let him down. He hit just four winners against 20 unforced errors.

Match of the day

The last match to finish on day six was Kyrgios’ contest with the 16th seed Karen Khachanov. Just like the thrilling five-setter fought out between Roger Federer and John Millman yesterday, it went to a deciding-set tiebreak. Kyrgios made the better start, racing out to a 6-2 7-6 4-2 lead against an out of sort Khachanov. But the Russian broke back late in the third, forcing a tiebreak, which he won, saving a match point the process.

He managed to fight off more Kyrgios pressure in the fourth to force another tiebreak, where he again saved a match point, with some fine play in the forecourt, before winning it to take the match the distance. Kyrgios’ chance looked to be gone then, with the Australian hardly moving at points. Khachanov was not that much more energetic. But in the decisive tiebreak, Kyrgios came alive, firing two stunning backhand winners past Khachanov on his way to claiming a 6-2 7-6 6-7 6-7 7-6 win at the third time of asking. The Australian fired 97 winners to just 52 unforced errors.

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